Heat on The Street: Tips to Help You Exercise Safely in Summer

At Transcend Health, we take your health and physical wellbeing extremely seriously. We can help you with your exercise related injuries and many more situations. We know that the benefits of exercise are well documented and well recognised, as are dangers of exercising in excessive humidity, heat or both.

In order to exercise effectively and safely in summer, we have complied a list of tips and tricks and things to consider when exercising in the heat. Some of the elements of this list might be common sense but some of them might be things you haven’t considered. Have a read and see what changes you can make to your exercise routine.

Be Sun Smart

Be Sun Smart

The Sun is the main reason that we should be more cautious when exercising in Summer, due to its thermal and ultra violet radiation which causes sunburn and skin damage, leading to skin cancer. Anybody can exercise at any age at any time of the year, within limits and Doctor’s advice, and being sun safe helps us do just that.

  • Slip on some light coloured, cotton mix clothing
  • Slop on some sunscreen
  • Slap on a tight weave, broad rim hat
  • Slide on some sunnies
  • Seek shade

Check the Weather

Doing this before you head out can save a lot of time and effort as well as preserve your safety.

Avoid the Hot Part of The Day

Even if you do not wish to exercise indoors all the time, for whatever reason, it is thoroughly recommended to exercise inside in the hottest part of the day between 10am and 3pm during the Summer months.

Avoid Times of Humidity

Humid conditions contribute to Exhaustion so, it is best to check the weather forecast before you head out. Also check weather report for ‘feels like’ temp predictions, as it can often feel hotter than the official temperature due to wind and other factors. Humidity will increase the effects of the heat, so you should reduce your workout’s intensity and duration at these times.

Head Inside

Head Inside

The best form of shade is the indoors which is why home, gyms and indoor pools are ideal places to exercise. The Heart foundation recommend doing some indoor activities and exercises, and the temperature is better controlled in these places which ultimately means you will be safe from the risk of melanoma and you will not have to adjust your PBs or fitness goals.

Other ways to exercise at home include:

  • Fitness DVDs
  • Using your own gym or free weights
  • Using the stairs to exercise       
  • Housework (with the added benefit of tidiness…)
  • Playing with the kids
Hydrate

Hydrate

It is imperative to drink water in order to survive. Dehydration will occur when you have lost 2% of your body weight in water and seriously dehydrated at 5% and 10% is life threatening.

Water is needed to replace lost moisture during exercise, which can be up to 4 litres per hour and remaining hydrated is the key to retaining your exercising capabilities because losing just 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25% .

A good way to know that you’re hydrating properly is by checking the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow, you’re hydrated. If it’s darker (like apple juice) then you will need to drink more water. Staying hydrated will help prevent dizziness, stomach cramps, and headaches and, as a rule of thumb during your run, drink 100-200 millilitres of water every 20 minutes or so.

Replace Lost Electrolytes

Replace Lost Electrolytes

Electrolytes are chemicals that the body needs but are lost in sweat. It is possible to replace lost electrolytes by drinking coconut water, cherry juice, orange juice or chocolate milk (taking into account added sugars). The general advice is to steer clear of sports drinks, however, because they’re usually loaded with calories, sugar and even artificial additives.

You Can Also Hydrate Without Drinking Water

You Can Also Hydrate Without Drinking Water

Sometimes drinking water can feel monotonous, but there are many ways to keep up your hydration levels that don’t involve glass after glass of H2O, such as:

  • Broccoli – 89% water
  • low fat milk – 90% water
  • Spinach – 93% water
  • tomatoes – 95% water
  • lettuce – 96% water
  • cucumber – 96% water
  • Oranges – 86% water
  • Apples – 85% water

Avoid Diuretics

It is also important to avoid drinks that will negatively affect your hydration levels such as caffeine, which has the effect of more fluid leaving your body than enters your body – caffeine is a diuretic. Alcohol is another one to avoid, as it reduces your body’s capacity to tolerate heat and is a diuretic as well.

Consider Altitude

High altitude, that is to say anything over 5000m, will affect your workout due to the lower oxygen levels in the air. This will lead to a higher heart rate which could lead to an increase in core temperature.

Leave Pets at Home

Leave Pets at Home

Dogs, horses and other pets with whom we may exercise, also suffer from heat and humidity in the same ways we do, but they aren’t as able to tell us when something doesn’t feel right. Dogs in particular can suffer in humidity because their cool-down tactic of panting is less effective in humid air. 

Take a Friend

Take a Friend

This is a generally good piece of advice for those thinking of exercising outdoors at any time, for safety reasons. You are at a higher risk of an altercation or an attack if you are alone, of course, but exercising can be more fun with a friend. If you get injured, you will have a friend to help you, too.

Respect the Effects of Exposure to Heat

Respect the Effects of Exposure to Heat

If you do find yourself being exposed to a lot of summer heat or humidity, you may start to experience symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn or heat rash.

Below are the most common problems associated with exercising in heat. If you feel any of these symptoms, move to shade, loosen clothing and call 911.

Heat stroke

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting (passing out)

 Heat Cramps

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

 Sunburn

  • Painful, red, and warm skin
  • Blisters on the skin

 Heat Rash

  • Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases)
Care for Injuries

Care for Injuries

Injuries can happen at any time, but there is evidence to suggest that exercising in Summer can increase your risk of injury. Transcend Health, based in Broadmeadow, near Newcastle NSW, have a group of exercise physiologists and physiotherapists to help you with sports related injuries. They are health fund approved (you may have access to rebates and compensation schemes with appropriate health fund coverage or GP referral) and can help you with a range of needs such as:

  • Exercise to reduce and manage chronic pain
  • Prevention and rehabilitation of sports injuries
  • Management of Type 2 Diabetes, PCOS and obesity
  • Exercise for cardiac rehabilitation & health
  • Recovery when undergoing treatment for cancer.
  • Sports injuries and fractures (e.g., ligament tears)
  • Musculoskeletal problems (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation (e.g., following a knee replacement)
  • Arthritic conditions (e.g., osteoarthritis)
  • Neurological disorders and diseases (e.g., stroke)
  • Paediatric conditions (e.g., cerebral palsy)

 Contact Transcend Health today to book your consultation.

References:

https://www.sunsmart.com.au/

https://cancerqld.org.au/news/beat-heat-summer-7-tips-exercise-safely/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-011-2206-7

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/staying-active

https://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/15-hydration-facts-for-athletes/slide-3

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236237/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/

https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/tips-working-out-summer-heat

https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/ten-water-rich-foods-hydration

https://www.active.com/running/articles/is-it-too-hot-to-run-with-your-dog

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

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